|Our 2016 Aeropress :) Thanks Allan|
|Our first coffee machine: $20 French Press via World Market|
I currently use a stainless steel & glass french press to brew freshly ground coffee beans. I am a deeply rooted green tea fan who recently started drinking coffee in 2016. I use a glass & steel setup to brew my tea's too because I like the flavor purity these device materials produce in my beverages.
|Hybrid Up-cycle Tea Brewing 2 part System|
Making Green Tea
Filter, Measure, Heat
To make tea, I start with filtered tap water. Pouring the filter water into a 2 cup pyrex glass measuring cup, I place this water filled glass vessel into our compact LG microwave oven. I tend to heat my water from ~68 F to ~210 (boiling) by programming the microwave for 4:32 on high.
We Like Glass
My wife preferred heating the water in borosilicate glass kettles on the stove, but she broke 2 of them by leaving them on the hot stove to the point where all the water evaporated, causing enough thermal shock to break even the boron enhanced glass that is normally quite thermally stable. I suspect dissolved salts in the water along with uneven heating at higher than 700 deg F contributed to the fatality of both vessels.
Meg Broke 2 Borosilicate Kettles
Meg, over my shoulder declares " it was the lack of whistling that lead to the demise of the kettles. We have not replaced either of them, pending a review of other potential more robust chemical inert water heating devices. Meg says "I need a whistle function because of my ADD, in both cases of the kettle demise I was distract by a phone call and multi tasking, and if I had just had a whistle to remind me, my attention would have been drawn back to the kettles, saving them from demise" I did not decrease my Amazon review scores of either unit, though the manufactures in both cases could have made the glass a bit thicker. Our second one was at least 2x thicker than the first, but even that was thin. We suspect they are making them thin to minimize costs, as borosilcate glass is significantly more expensive than soda lime glass.
The Tea of Choice
None the less, While the water is heating I add Organic Gunpowder Green Tea to the stainless brewing device, resting it inside of a 1.5 cup glass tea brewing apparatus that I recycled from a old tea brewing setup (see image above for Hybrid Up-cycle 2 Part System)
The stainless screen cup & glass cup assembly are at room temperature, which steals heat from the brewing process (a good thing) as the lower than boiling temp results in a nicer tasting tea and better rebrew flavors during round 2 & 3.
Flavor Preservation : Glass Inert ^^
I used this setup because the entire water heating and brewing process happens in chemically inert glass vessels. The stainless steel brewing device likewise does not impart any off flavors, and is generally not reactive to the tea brewing process. Actually, the tea brewing device has taken on a slightly yellow, almost titanium nitride appearance, evidence of complex metal oxide formation on the stainless steel along with tannin staining: its quite beautiful! I let the tea brew in this setup while I heat more water in the microwave for round 2, provide a dual purpose to the count down time on the microwave.
Unusual Tea Brewing
Sometime, even often, I let the tea brew until the temperature has dropped below 130 deg, something tea snobs would consider blasphemy, I frankly like it like that. This method produces a strongly flavored green tea that gives weaker brewed black teas a run for their tannin's. I can imagine even an ardent english black tea drinker like Christopher Nolan enjoying a cup of my unusually strongly flavored green tea.
Water Microwave Heating
Boiling water in a microwave can take a bit longer than you might think because of the uneven heating of the microwave field, something the spinning plates functionality is designed to minimize. Remember you are heating with a kind of light, photons/ electrons, like heat that bounces around like a trapped laser beam inside the metal box of the microwave. Those holes that allow you to see in are smaller than the waveform width of the microwave signal, meaning the microwaves cannot exit, only visible light at a much higher frequencies can make it out. The microwave has a small light bulb inside to produce visible light so that you can see what you are heating through the small holes in the door screen while the microwave is on. This is perfectly eye safe, if any microwaves leaked out they would instantly cook your eye balls.
Many people are skeptical of microwave ovens, claiming they cause molecular changes when they are used to heat water or food. If water experienced a molecular change in the microwave, it would become hydrogen gas and explode, or it would turn into hydrogen peroxide, similarly preposterous.
Understanding Microwave & Water
If microwaves could breakdown water into its components, namely Oxygen and Hydrogen by creating molecular change, then using microwaves to split water would have already made someone a billionaire. Sadly the scientific truth, far more boring that what microwave skeptic claim, is that microwaves make foods heated in them taste differently because of the rapid speed of the heating process and the uneven nature of the heating, which surely does cause chemical reactions in food, some even at the molecular changing level if temperatures are high enough. Microwaves primarily heat by vibrating water molecules at the molecular level.
All cooking methods however produce molecular change, that is what it means to cook something. Microwaves are guilty of heating things extremely unevenly, and because the microwave signal is strongly absorbed by water, dry foods do not heat well in microwave ovens. I generally only cook water in the microwave, and I only consider this heating because the only molecular change you can create by heating water, regardless of method, is called a phase change from liquid to s gas known as steam. There are chemicals like chlorine and fluoride gas dissolved in tap water. Some tap water is contaminated with pesticides and other funky toxic flavors. This is part of why Meg and I filter our tap water.
Well Reviewed Aeropress
Online the Aeropress gets outstanding reviews from a wide variety of people who expert coffer enthusiasts. Many people now claim that the Aeropress is capable of making some of the best tasting coffee possible. I am deeply ardent skeptic of heating anything in plastic, having long ago experience water plastic water bottle with water that had a distinctly funky plastic flavor. One my earliest memories is a water bottle that mounted to the inner frame of my bicycle. I had been out riding around on a hot July summer day and went to take a swig of water from that bottle, sadly the sun had warmed the bottle and the water, producing the nastiest tasting water that has ever entered my mouth, it tasted like licking a fresh sun heated plastic children's toy, another memory I have from earlier childhood.
No Fear Involved
I am not afraid of BPA or BPS poisoning the water but I just dislike the flavor of water heating in plastic. I tell people never to microwave anything in a plastic container because of how that will result in foul flavors as the plastic off-gas from uneven microwave heating. For me its more about flavor integrity then chemical inert properties, though the years I spent doing chemistry with borosilicate glass taught me that only PTFE containers are high temperature stable among the plastic varieties. I do not recommend using any plastic anything in your kitchen if said is going to contact warm or hot liquids or foods. Silicon that is high temperature stable has become very popular in kitchens, but I will warn that glass is the only completely inert material that will not impart any flavors, so long as you glass is clean.
Glass & Steel Please
I wish they made a glass version of the aeropress that shipped with a stainless filter screen. I understand the need for a rubber gasket, but stainless steel and glass fiber can be used to make a water tight aerospace gasket, surely for the right price an all stainless & or glass Aeropress can be manufactured. Sadly the $30 price of the plastic model makes it broadly popular, a glass and metal version would cost at least 3x more, especially given the need mechanical integrity of the unit owing to the way they are operated, with mechanical pressure input.
Speaking of which, I am not trying to cause a skeletal or joint injury forcing the plunger of the Aeropress for 30-40 seconds. I watched my father-in-law using it, he is far stronger than I am, and was exerting a fair amount of effort to operate the press. I have two back injuries and neck injury that I must be careful with, something that will encourage my use of our low-end glass & steel french press from the World Market. I believe that kit was under $20. Likewise I plan to continue brewing green tea in glass and steel. I never plan on using plastics with heated consumable fluids or foods. Meg & I prefer metal and glass. To get eye full of why look up "microplastics" on the Google Images tab for an eye opening look at something often overlooked by most people.
Curiosity In the End
One day I am sure that curiosity will overwhelm me to the point of trying the aeropress, and you can be sure that I will write a long winded blog posting all about it in great detail when I do. For now its glass and steel. Remember there are no mistakes in life, only happy accidents :P a phrase I will borrow from the wonderful late Bob Ross painter.
Reading Materials / References / Anyone of these topics post worthy ^^
Caffeine is a stimulant drug, the most popular & widely consumed psychoactive drug, and is legal an unregulated throughout the world! Green Tea & Coffee both contain caffeine! When you use hot water to extract tea or coffee, the resulting fluid is called an infusion
Steel comes in a lot of different alloy flavors, mixtures of Iron, Carbon, Silicon, Vanadium, Molybdenum, Manganese, Nickel, Chromium, etc. These other elements are added to Iron to give steel's their unique properties. You can get a cool look at different steels by taking a look at a website devoted to Knife Blade information.
Glass comes in a lot of different compositions / grades/ types/ kind. Have a look at the wikipedia page about glass. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass
I am sure you will understand why I like glass and steel if you read the wikipedia page about plastic.
Checkout the official page of the Aeropress FAQ to get the complete lowdow scoop ^^
or their main page
French Press Coffee